A Small Family Business
A Small Family Business, by Alan Ayckbourn, is a riotous exposure of entrepreneurial greed, as the family connections of its protagonist fade and rampant self-interest takes over and comic hysteria builds to a macabre climax.
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Well, that’s one down, isn’t it. Nine to go. Next! Thou shalt not kill. What about that then? Let’s have a crack at that one next, shall we?
Jack McCracken: a man of principle in a corrupt world. But not for long. Moments after taking over his father-in-law’s business he’s approached by a private detective armed with some compromising information.
Jack’s integrity fades away as he discovers his extended family to be thieves and adulterers, looting the business from their suburban homes. Rampant self-interest takes over and comic hysteria builds to a macabre climax.
A riotous exposure of entrepreneurial greed, Alan Ayckbourn’s A Small Family Business, premiered at the National Theatre in 1987 and returned there in April 2014.
[From Michael Billington's list of his top-ten plays of the twentieth century]
This play offers a devastating assault on the way the entrepreneurial values we were taught to admire in the eighties lead ultimately to fraud, theft, self-deceit, even homicide. It is the modern equivalent of An Inspector Calls - only, being Ayckbourn, far funnier. It argues just as passionately as the work of more overtly political writers that there is such a thing as society.
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